As I stated before, I started reading my mom’s books when I was in fourth grade.
Not ALL of the books. For a few authors, I read in Junior High…. Anne Rice was one such author.
We had picked up Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith (the trilogy was rather different from what you see on the CW…), and I adored these books. I believe those were what started my teen vampire crazy.
So my mom recommended Anne Rice.
…. dude…. I was not prepared.
I have to say that Anne Rice’s books have significantly influenced me as I grew as a writer, and the first real “urban fantasy” before we really knew what that was.
For those who may have been living under a rock, the series starts off with Interview with the Vampire. Yeah, the first one was a bit on the dry side, but it sets the world up nicely, and gives you a very good idea of what you are getting into. Louis is… whiny. It’s what he does, and I admit I was rooting for Lestat throughout. What can I say? I have a type.
Get through it so you can read the rest.
Things starting picking up once you get into the Vampire Lestat. Our dear “hero” decides to tell HIS story, including correcting some of Louis’s misconceptions. The series as a whole picks up from there, and again, I recommend them. Just get through Interview, and you’re golden. She’s been continuing to put out books in this world/series for the past 40 years. Some are designed as stand alones, but if you put them together, you get a much richer story.
Vampires not your thing? How about witches? The Witching Hour was the first book that kicked off her Mayfair witch series. This serious was…. oh dear. It was something. I was older when I read this one, and it was a good thing. I’m not sure how the younger me would have handled it. The plot of the trilogy is a bit twisty, and there were certainly some aspects that caused me to cringe, but I still swept through them. These books take place in the same world as her Vampire ones, and I would say certainly worth it.
My all-time favorite book by Rice, however, is Servant of the Bones. It was written as a stand alone, and it was simply breathtaking. It tells the story of the Servant himself, what he was as a human and how he became an extremely powerful ghost/entity. It is very tense, but very enjoyable.
Her Mummy (or Ramses the Damned) has to be my next favorite of her books. She takes a look at the curse of the mummy from his perspective, and showing a great deal of the confusion as said Mummy comes back to run amok in the modern day. It lets you see where he came from and why he did the things he did which lead him to be the undead we’ve all been warned about. It’s rather well done, and a book I greatly enjoyed.
When she did Cry to Heaven, (third fav, thankyouverymuch), it was something a bit different from the rest of her works. There weren’t any of the fantasy overtones in her other books, but instead the excellent storytelling and unraveling of a mystery. Takes place in 18th century Italy as a noble lord is taken out of the family line by those who wished the position instead, and as expected of Rice, done in rather dramatic, surprising fashion.
With someone who has been writing for as long as Rice you are going to see her go through phases. Up, down, and all around. She’s done erotica (her Sleeping Beauty series) and in more recent years, she’s gone more religious in theme. Admittedly, I haven’t read much of her recent stuff, but I always hold fondly her older books.
Rice has quite a gift, and is one of the writers I can point to and say is an influence in my own way of thinking as far as my books are concerned. I enjoyed how she always made you feel sympathy for the many bad guys (maybe I can blame my love for bad guys on her??). She takes rich, ancient settings and brings you into them – something else I simply adore.
If you’re looking for a new (old) writer, and you somehow have managed to NOT read Anne Rice, I highly recommend you picking up a few of the above.